I cannot believe six weeks of the year has gone by already, but here we are the sixth post in our series. This is a very practical series, geared to helping us get things around here more organised and efficient… When it comes to kitchen organising I always think things are going smoothly until I take a slightly deeper look. We started in a very low key kind of a way this past week… just slowly but surely organising sections of the kitchen. This post is really in case you feel inspired to join us on our journey…
Se7en Tips for a Massive Kitchen Declutter
I like to do a massive kitchen scrub once in a while. Realistically we clean our kitchen after each meal… sweep the floor and wipe the counters. Once or twice a week we mop the floor and then once a week I take on a deeper cleaning task. And our deeper cleaning tasks are clean out the fridge, take everything off the counters and clean, clean and tidy all the spices, and clean out the veggie drawers. This month I am planning to do a little more than usual and organise our kitchen thoroughly. It has been a while, it is not the first time, and it is not the last time… and it certainly is high time. Most things I tweak a little here and there as we go along, but everyone now and then things need a bit of a kick start.
- Tiny Steps Do Add Up: Cleaning out your kitchen is not for the faint hearted. It requires a certain amount of chaos before things can get better, and at the same time you still have to produce meals around the clock. I know how it works, you pull out a drawer and can’t find what you are looking for and in a moment of insanity you empty it out to get organised, and then discover a few things that belong in the closet, but when you get to the closet something is in the wrong place, so you unpack the closet to organise it… before you can even blink you have unpacked the entire kitchen and now everyone wants supper. The trick is to perform really small steps, and if there is anything you can delegate… then delegate away.
- Create an Interim Space: I know, you are meant to put things back where they belong when you are tidying. If you are tidying your kitchen counters and then spend more time wandering around the house putting things away, then you are wasting time. Have a place where you put all the things that belong elsewhere and keep that for one of your final tasks later. Otherwise create a donate box… and I make sure that that box has a lid on it, because as soon as my family knows something is about to be donated they immediately find an absolutely vital use for that item.
- Start Where You Will Notice the Most Difference: It is encouraging to see progress fast, so while the whole kitchen is too much all at once, pick something where you will notice the biggest difference. I always start with the counter tops. When your counters are clean then everything else looks clean. Pop everything off the counters and only put things back when they are completely clean and only if you want them there. I firmly believe that appliances don’t get used if they are not available to use. If I had to unpack the mixer every time I needed to use it then I would “need” it a lot less. That being said, we only keep appliances on our counter that we use all the time. I notice that we have one or two appliances out on our kitchen counters that we just aren’t using at the moment… it is probably time for them to move along.
- Declutter, Declutter, Declutter: Once I have tackled the counters I go through all the drawers and all the cupboards… and I toss anything we haven’t used in the last while. That alone forces me to use the things I love instead of keeping them for “special.” Don’t keep things you don’t love and don’t neglect the things you do. Otherwise if you have gifts that you have never used, you hate to love them and you love to hate them. Move them along, really. That relative of your auntie’s cousin doesn’t need to know if you kept her casserole dish, or her potato masher. If you have duplicates, then toss them out right now. If you just can’t want to donate some of your stuff then pop all the questionable things into a box and give the whole box to a friend. Let her get rid of it for you. (and that works for any decluttering). You definitely should not have ancient wedding gifts, still in its packaging… just saying… it is time to reclaim all that all that closet space that is being taken up with stuff you don’t use and don’t really want.
- Rearrange, but Just a Little: I cannot rearrange our entire kitchen without my family getting very upset about not being able to find anything, but if you find yourself always moving ten things to get to one thing, or always crawling to the back of a closet for something you use everyday then change things up a little. Seasons change and so do priorities… things you might need close at hand when your kids are tiny might be quite different to what you need close at hand by the time they are ready for school. Lose the stuff you don’t use anymore, anything your kids don’t need anymore can move along. There are some things that we only use once or twice a year, put those things in the harder to reach spots. Our more obscure things go in a box of obscure once a year things, then when I am looking for an obscure once a year item, I know where to look.
- Let’s Talk About Storage: If you have closets full of storage containers that you can’t access easily that you almost never use then firstly you have too many containers and secondly make them more accessible so that you can use them. to organise your containers begin by taking everything out and matching lids to containers… anything without a match get rid of immediately. In a world that should be tending to less and less plastic even buying plastic containers that are guaranteed to last a life time is pretty much an anathema. We store all our left overs in glass canning jars, in fact we use those for sending lunch to the office as well. Glass for the win, it is easy to clean and looks good so you will choose to use it again and again.
- Enlist Help: When it comes to cleaning out and organising your kitchen this is one place that you really can get your kids to help you. This is one project that I really battle to get started with… I can quite easily make a list of things that need doing and then I stagger to a stop in overwhelm. But kids love this sort of project and the best way to get started is always to take the first step. As soon as I finish one closet I invite a child to empty the next one… they get to clear everything out and wipe the closet down, then wipe all the contents clean and put them back. It often feels like the last thing you need is help from the kids… but kids are great at emptying out closets… they are great at scrubbing any number of things and they enjoy it. And I like to pack things back… and I always put things that I use together back in the same place.
- Lastly Create Some Appeal: We tend to get so caught up in cleaning out our kitchen and making sure that the next meal is on time that we often forget the things that really can improve your kitchen’s curb appeal and our mood in the kitchen. And for all the hard work that went into cleaning out all the closets. Check through your tea towels and loss the old tattered and torn ones. Take a good look at the fridge door, toss out all ancient artworks… and refresh with one or two more. Print some new photographs and out with the old. Trust me look at your fridge, now look again… there is always something to tidy up there and it can really make a massive difference to your kitchen appeal and how you feel about spending time in there.
We have slightly begun our massive kitchen clean out, and slowly but surely we are getting there. Hopefully next week we will have some fantastic photographs of tasks that have been tackled and lessons learnt along the way.
Previous Posts in our 52 Weeks of Getting Things Done Series
- Week 1: Decluttering your Computer
- Week 2: Updating your Blog
- Week 3: Finding your Work Flow
- Week 4: Streamlining Your Social Media
- Week 5: Getting Food Onto the Table